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Jenny Willott

MP for Cardiff Central

Jenny Willott - MP for Cardiff Central

Jenny was educated at Wimbledon High School before winning a scholarship to Uppingham School. She studied Classics at Durham University and then, following her MSc in Development Studies at the London School of Economics, she became Head of Office for Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Lembit Opik. Whilst working for Lembit she was elected in 1998 as the youngest councillor on Merton Council, where she sat on the Environment Committee.

Before getting elected in 2005 as the first woman ever to represent central Cardiff, and the first Liberal since the 1920s, she worked for a number of charities. She worked for the children's charity Barnardo's in their Welsh fostering and adoption project, and she was Head of Advocacy for UNICEF UK, part of the UN Children's Fund.

She has also worked overseas, spending part of her gap year living in Switzerland, and later working for a women's organisation in Bihar in Northern India. Immediately before being elected as an MP, she worked as head of Victim Support South Wales, based in Cardiff.

As an MP her work on local issues includes: campaigning against the Council Tax and tuition fees; and for fair pensions for former Allied Steel and Wire workers. She has led the campaign in Parliament for justice for those who received contaminated blood from NHS treatment and has campaigned hard for the Government to invest more in improved energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy. In Parliament, she has been a member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Public Administration Select Committee, as well as being a Deputy Chief Whip and Ministry of Justice spokesperson. In 2007 she chaired the Liberal Democrat Welsh Assembly election campaign. In June 2008 Jenny became Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions before being appointed Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Following the 2010 election she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, but she resigned this position in order to vote against the Government over increasing tuition fees. She is now co-chair of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Committee on Work and Pensions.

Jenny's particular interests include poverty, crime, human rights, social justice, environmental and international development issues.

Experience

Various charitable organisations, including head of Victim Support South Wales, Chief Researcher for Lembit Opik MP.

Parliamentary Experience

June 2010 - Co-Chair Lib Dem Work and Pensions Committee, June-Dec 2010 PPS for Chris Huhne MP, Jan 2009-May 2010 Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 2008-2009 Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, 2006-2008 Deputy Chief Whip, 2005-2010 Work and Pensions Select Committee, 2005-2010 Public Administration Select Committee.

Interests

Music, reading and travelling.

Contact Details

Contact Jenny Willott.

Recent Updates

  • Severn bridge tolls launch
    Article: Aug 18, 2014

    The Liberal Democrats have announced today that the party would scrap the Severn Bridge tolls if in Government after the next election.

    The Severn Crossings are currently managed by a private company. The concession will end when a revenue target collected from tolls is reached. Current forecasts are that the concession will end in 2018. Once the tolls are transferred into public ownership and debts are repaid, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to scrap the tolls completely.

  • Carers bonus graphic
    Article: Jul 3, 2014

    Over 60,000 Welsh carers will receive an annual bonus under a Liberal Democrat UK government, it has been announced today.

    Liberal Democrats have made a manifesto pledge to give carers £250 per year, by the end of the next parliament.

    In total more than 63,500 people in Wales would benefit from the Carer's Bonus. The annual payment will help full-time carers get a bit of extra help and recognises the invaluable contribution they make to society.

  • Article: Jul 11, 2013

    Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed today's launch by the Government of proposals for an Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) for public consultation.

    The new scheme will enable companies to identify opportunities to save money on energy bills through improved energy efficiency and could benefit the UK by £1.9 billion.

  • Article: Jul 4, 2013

    Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, is today supporting the first national Employee Ownership Day, raising awareness of the many benefits this way of running a business can have for employers, employees and the wider economy.

    The Coalition Government has already announced £50 million of support annually from 2014-15 for the employee ownership sector, but today, on Employee Ownership Day, the Government has announced further proposals for two new tax reliefs to encourage, promote and support indirect employee-ownership structures.

  • Article: Jun 3, 2013

    Assistant Whip for the Coalition Government, Jenny Willott MP, has called on the Welsh Labour Government's Minister for Poverty, Huw Lewis AM, to clarify whether he supports Ed Balls' intention to introduce a regional benefits system which would penalise people in Wales.

    In a speech today, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls MP said that Labour wants a system that "takes account of housing costs in different parts of the country - with an independent body, like the Low Pay Commission, advising on whether the cap should be higher in high-cost housing areas like London, but potentially lower in other parts of the country".

  • Article: May 23, 2013

    Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central, has welcomed the UK Government's response to a report on cross border road and rail links between England and Wales by the Welsh Affairs Committee.

    The report emphasises the importance of the UK Government working with the Welsh Government to improve infrastructure links across the English-Welsh border and makes several recommendations of instances where closer cooperation is needed.

  • Article: May 13, 2013

    The Coalition Government has reaffirmed its commitment to get empty homes back into use, detailing the series of measures being introduced to ensure more empty houses become homes again.

    These include introducing refurbishment schemes and a new Community Right to Reclaim Land, reforming planning laws, encouraging local authorities to take a lead by providing a financial reward for bringing long-term empty homes back into use, and reviewing what further steps can be taken to end the bias for demolition in the state sector.

  • Article: Mar 19, 2013

    Families across Wales are to get greater financial support for childcare thanks to a major new initiative.

    Liberal Democrat analysis shows that the £1bn boost to help parents with childcare costs could benefit 110,000 families in Wales.

    The Coalition Government's scheme will save the typical working family with two children up to £2,400 a year.

  • Article: May 2, 2012

    Jenny Willott, Cardiff Central's Liberal Democrat MP, has welcomed the passing into law of the Protection of Freedoms Act, which received its Royal Assent today, as a landmark moment in the fight for civil liberties.

    The Act, which the Lib Dems called for in opposition, will roll back some of the worst abuses of power by the Labour Government. Changes in the legislation include preventing schools from finger-printing children, stopping councils using anti-terrorism laws to snoop on people, and ending the storage of DNA from innocent people.

  • Article: Mar 21, 2012

    A further 42,000 workers in Wales taken out of paying income tax

    Over 1,000,000 million workers in Wales receiving a further £220 tax break.

    Financial year

    Personal tax allowance

    Value of tax cut

    Number taken out of tax

    Number receiving tax cut

    2010/11

    £6,475

    -

    -

    -

    2011/12

    £7,475

    £200

    40,000

    Over 1 million

    2012/13

    £8,105

    £130

    51,200

    Over 1 million

    2013/14

    £9,205

    £220

    Total:

    £550

    42,000

    Total:

    133,200

    Over 1 million